Problems, Problems, Problems-they’re only there to add to the challenge.
Hooray-I receive my early morning call at 7am-a good job, I was deep in sleep when it went off.
Breakfast is the same as usual, which for me is fruit salad, yoghurt and omelette.
Today turns out to be a day when we encounter a number of problems-but such challenges are the things that make or break a tour.
After breakfast, I rush out to get the $350 we need to pay for the laundry. We have an account with £4,000 which can be used to cover such costs, emergencies such as medical expenses and to pay for activities-but disaster the ATM swallows my card!! Giving me a note-Card retained-Contact your bank. Blinking heck!!!!
I try to use my own card to obtain some cash, but it won’t give me any-double blinking heck!!!! At least it did give me my card back.
How are we going to access cash, initially for the laundry, but more importantly for activities later in the tour. We need another $425 to pay for the tickets for the Aussie rules game tomorrow, plus some to pay for transport to and from the game at the MCG. I return to the hotel a little flustered.
Back at the hotel, the group are bringing their cases down to reception, as we are checking out today and flying to Melbourne at around midnight. A quick discussion with staff reveals several have credit cards and we can use those as a last resort.
After storing the luggage, we are going on a sightseeing tour and following it with a traditional Chinese lunch. We register the group and five lads are missing. Mr Lewis rings their room but no answer. It’s now 9.30am. We should have left 30 minutes ago. We can’t hold back the group any longer, so they depart whilst I stay back to find the missing quintet.
I go to the first room, but no reply. On to room 2 and after a lot of pounding on the door, eventually signs of movement are heard. The door is opened and it’s easy to see why the phone and door weren’t answered in the first room-all five are sleeping in this one-why? I’ve no idea.
Apart from oversleeping, nothing appears to be wrong, nevertheless they get short shrift from me. I tell them to pack and to be down in reception within 15 minutes. They are packed and down by 9.50am-very contrite, but the damage has been done.
I am not best pleased and certainly our inability/unwillingness to get our bodies adjusted to the different time zones has created a problem.
They ask if they can have breakfast, and luckily for them it’s still open and I’ve calmed down slightly and let them go. However, they will have their freedom restricted when the rest of the group returns after lunch.
Mr Lewis organises the tour buses to stop at Singapore CC to collect the kit. He had organised a collection of spare Singapore dollars that members of the group say they will not need for the rest of the day and uses them to pay for it-very resourceful. We will repay them with Australian dollars when we arrive in Melbourne-if we can get them.
The group visit the Singapore City Museum, which Miss Smitham tells me is very informative, drive along the home strait used in the Grand Prix and visit the famous Merlion complex in the harbour. The tour is completed in Chinatown where they see some of the local snacks which included dried lizard on a stick and dried octopus. No-one was tempted to try them, although Mr Lewis tried to find the recipe to introduce them into the key stage 3 course.
They end the tour with lunch in a traditional Chinese restaurant. The tastes and flavours were very different to the Chinese flavours we had at home. I ask the girls if they enjoyed it.
“It wasn’t really to our taste, Sir. ” Shanaye Grant told me, most of the others agreed.
“I bet it was really nice and you’re just fussy girls.” I said.
The staff have brought me a take-away, with 6 or 7 different dishes. I tried them all and none were to my taste either. It seems like I’m fussy too!
Anyway, we can content ourselves in the knowledge that we’ve tried the local cuisine rather than the normal fare of KFC, Subway, McDonalds etc.
We meet again at 2pm and give the group free time until 8pm. Sean Collins is not wearing the Donkey of the Day T-shirt. “What’s wrong Sean?”
“It’s too warm to wear it.”
It will be much cooler in Melbourne and he agrees to wear it there.
Most of the group spend time visiting the nearby malls to spend their remaining dollars. When they return, the hotel have arranged for towels to be in the pool area so that those who want to, can use the pool and showers.
I spend 90 minutes on the phone back to the UK trying to sort out the card issue-after 7 or 8 transfers they eventually say that they will try to send £1,000, in emergency cash to Melbourne-but as it’s the weekend they can’t confirm until Monday morning.
Our coaches arrive at 8pm and we are at the airport and checked in by 9pm. Bad news for Sam Nicholson-he left his phone on the coach. He realises as we are checking in and we ring the bus company straight away, but a quick search reveals that it has already gone.
We will need to report the loss to a police station when we arrive which won’t be easy given our timings when we are there.
Before we board, an update from the test and Root has passed 200 and England are pressing on towards 500. Whilst Gowerton are playing Dafen and have dismissed them for 169.
We board our plane, SQ237 on time, but as we are seated in the cabin, it is very hot. An announcement tells us part of the air conditioning isn’t working-even the stewardesses are using magazines to fan themselves. We hope it is better when we are in the air or it could be a long flight.
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